Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fire on Your Tongue

Learn to haiku (俳句) style burns

My heart aches with pain.
When I see you, I vomit.
Die away from me.

That 70's Show


As a matter of fact, my entire blog, title, pictures, and all, are incredibly insulting to foreigners, at least from a Japanese perspective. The word "gaijin" was created as a derogatory term for all non-Japanese people. But unlike other words of prejudice, "gaijin" has pretty straightforward origins.

外国人, Gaikokujin, foreigner, "outside country person"
外人, Gaijin, "outside person"

Just like other races, we have taken something inherently offensive and made it our own, from Gaijin Smash, to Gaijin in Japan, to yours truly, the fastest among all foreigners. Although many Japanese people may throw out a "gaijin" remark with malicious intent, most foreigners harbor no feelings whatsoever about the word. How can we hate a word that means nothing to us? Still, there are those that take the opinions of the Japanese racial slurs seriously, and completely avoid the word.

Japan really is one of the safest countries on this Earth. Murder happens, but it is so unexpected (well, more so than other countries), it usually makes national news. Assault is less likely. Rape... it does happen. And if you're an attractive foreign woman, be on your guard. Especially around the club scene. You're just as likely to encounter a chikan on a crowded train. Chikans are those pathetic Japanese men who take advantage of the close quarters in a jam-packed train to molest women. Again, be on your guard. You're walking with a bullseye on your body if you're a foreigner.

If you do encounter some jerk or someone you'd prefer would leave you alone, "no" is a universal word, and screams and shouting are widely understood. But if you'd really like to brush someone off, there are some common Japanese phrases:

"Go away!"
atchi e ike or hanarero

"Stop!"
tomare

"Help!"
taskete

"No way!"
やだ, yada

"You're a pain"
うざい, uzai

I'd like to come up with something more insulting, but I believe there is a nationwide conspiracy to stop foreigners from learning the all-powerful Japanese insults. After all, how can one of the most polite languages on the earth claim to have every swear word in the book? Yet... they exist. Give me time. I'll crack one of them, or maybe a Japanese girlfriend can show me the way.



North Korea is not planning another nuclear test. That would be a great message to the rest of the world: "Watch us, all-powerful North Koreans, as we deplete our existing supply of plutonium in an impressive and completely useless display!" Give me a break. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a fan of channeling other people's dialogue, even though I end up being off my miles. Still, there are so few facts in the news it's ridiculous. Everything I've read this week has been mere speculation.

Noteworthy

My entry regarding workplace behavior in Japan is now published in The Foreigner; check it out.

When I'm thinking of home, this always helps. Heh, the Mexican food really does suck everywhere else. Anyone know a half-decent place in Japan?

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